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【探索发现】美国的塑料制品回收办法 U.S. Plastic Product Recycling Approach

来源:慢速英语   时间:2020-01-11 15:36:03

Volunteers participating in the International Coastal Cleanup collect litter in the Anacostia area of Washington,DC.


The recycle bin in the home or office is often the last stop for empty containers.But for papers,plastics,cardboards and cans,it is the beginning of a trip thousands of kilometers long.


Yehenew Gedshew directs a recycling center near Washington,DC.


"As long as people throw their trash,we have a job."


His recycling center processes about 35 tons of material an hour.How does it process that much every hour?Yehenew Gedshew says the business is highly-organized.


"First what happens is,dump trucks bring materials to our site.They dump it on the tipping floor.It goes to the first screen where the cardboard and the rest of(the)material is sorted out."


The rest of the material goes on a belt that carries the glass and plastic to the last screening area.The glass gets crushed and the plastic gets sorted and flattened.


"This is a very sophisticated machine.And that belt brings it down to the bunker.The plastic goes to the bunker,from the bunker we put it to the baler,it gets baled and gets shipped out."


Local recycling programs often require people to separate plastics,papers and glass.But Yehenew Gedshew says sorters at his recycling center do that all that work.He says the center ships most of its plastic to a processing center in North Carolina,more than 500 kilometers to the south.At that center,mountains of bottles become piles of plastic.They are ready to be melted and shaped into something new.


From the store to the recycling bin,and from there to just about anywhere you can imagine,plastic bottles spend a lot of time on the road.And so have we.We now go to Fayetteville,North Carolina.The city is home to the Clear Path Recycling center.It is one of the largest plastic recycling centers in the United States.Jay Chilton supervises the center.

从商店到回收站,从那里到任何你能想象得到的地方,塑料瓶在路上花了很多时间。我们也是。我们现在去北卡罗来纳州的费耶特维尔。这座城市是Clear Path回收中心的所在地。它是美国最大的塑料回收中心之一。杰伊·奇尔顿负责监督中心。

"On an average week we receive anywhere from 1 to one and one half million pounds of bottles into the plant."


In metric terms,that is 454,000 to 680,000 kilograms.The Clear Path Recycling Center receives eight to 10 trucks a day.That means more than 18,000 kilograms of plastic every day.The goods come to the center in large piles or bales,like the ones at the recycling center in Maryland.


"These bales on average are about 900lbs((400 kg));and they can range anywhere from 600lbs((270 kg))to 1500lbs((680 kg))in this configuration.This is accumulation of nearly 10-15 weeks of delivery."


Not far from the Clear Path Recycling is a huge storage area for the plastic objects.They enter the recycling center to begin the process that will change them.


"This is where the whole bottles enter the whole bottle wash.It's just like your front-end loading washing machine at your house.It's just a lot longer,and a lot bigger."


Hot water washes paper labels off the drink bottles and removes dirt.The plastic is broken up into what the plastics recycling industry calls"PET flake."Another center will buy the flake to melt and mold into something else.The flake fills trucks and is sometimes stored in silos like farmers use to store grain.


"These silos hold roughly 300 metric tons of PET flake,and the one we're standing on now,we have about 150 metric tons of flake,and there's three of these."


Add up the numbers--almost one kiloton of plastic flake waits to be changed into something new.


Plastic bottles spend their lives on the move.Machines mold and fill them with our favorite drinks.When we are done drinking,machines destroy the bottles and make them into new bottles.Their journey never ends.But our trip has come to an end in Wilson,North Carolina.


In our program,we have described the trip made by plastic bottles from stores to recycling bins and then to recycling centers.The bottles are then broken down into small pieces,which are put into bags.Now,we will witness the rebirth of a plastic bottle.


Mark Rath is a supervisor at Peninsula Packaging.At his business,pieces of plastic become products like carry-out trays at food stores and restaurants.


"This will become a plastic sheet,and eventually a thermoform product."


Peninsula Packaging melts and flattens plastic so it can be shaped and molded.The process is complex.


"We take the clear chips like this,and it goes into an oven,and it cooks for about 3 to 4 hours in that oven."


The plastic cooks at almost 200 degrees Celsius.When the melted plastic comes out of the oven,it is made into carry-out trays or other food packaging.The plastic is then wrapped,rolled and taken to what is called a"thermoform station."


"We unwind the plastic into a very long oven where we heat it again,and then we'll form it in a forming station.We'll follow it through and see what happens to it."


What happens to the recycled plastic involves a vacuum,lots of pressure,and--believe it or not--more recycling.


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